Just like welcoming a new human into your life, getting a puppy can be equally daunting if you are a first-time dog owner.
After all, we know the feeling of nerves arising about caring for a new four legged puppy. No doubt, you want to be the best parent possible, which means making sure it's healthy and well.
One of the best ways to do this is by taking your puppy for regular checkups/vaccinations at your local vet.
Taking your puppy to a vet will help keep it in optimal health and give you an idea as a dog owner just how well your puppy is progressing in life.
The benefits of taking your puppy to the vet are vast. But, to reap those benefits, you have to make that first initial visit. Which can be a big step for some.
To help you become familiar with your puppy's first vet visit, we've curated a puppy first vet visit checklist for you to calm your nerves and help you and your puppy get the most out of the experience.
Puppy first vet visit checklist
1. Scheduling your puppy's appointment
Great, so you've got a lovely little furry friend into your home, now what? Well, while there are multiple suggestions out there on when you should arrange your puppy's first appointment, we recommend taking your puppy to see the vet within the first week of you bringing them home.
Ideally, you will be bringing your puppy home at around 8 weeks, and this is the perfect time for its first appointment.We recommend choosing a vet that your other friends or relatives use.
If you don't wish to do that, we suggest finding a nearby vet but visiting its premises before the appointment. You can see how clean the practice is; you can talk to the vets and have an idea of the practice.
Then once done, you can schedule an appointment; often, the sooner, the better. Your puppy must be seen as quickly as possible so vets can follow up after overdue care.
2. Gather information
You're a new parent, so you will want to get all the best knowledge to look after your puppy and allow it to live a healthy life. After all, vets aren't always cheap, and you will want to get the best answers out of your vet while there to save you money and stress.
Therefore we recommend making a list of essential questions that you might want to ask during your visit. This way you will be prepared and won't forget anything crucial.
It's equally vital that you bring your puppy's health records. You get this information from its breeder or shelter you got them from. If you've got your puppy from a shelter, you will have paperwork to tell the vet what care they've already had.
You will also want to observe your puppy's behavior and note any unusual behavior that might occur. Similarly, you will want to note down its eating habits, the food you give it, and its bathroom behaviors.
3. Prepare your finances
Many questions may be arising in your mind regarding your vet visit. One of which might be how much is the first vet visit for a puppy? Well, the truth is it shouldn't be that expensive compared to other visits, as this is just a routine checkup.
If you're in North America, you should expect to pay anything between $75 and $100. However, the price can vary based on what part of the world you live in and the vet you visit.
The best thing to do is call vets in your area and ask around how much it costs. You will want to know the costs of routine checkups and the registration fees.
If it's quite expensive, you might want to think about getting health insurance for your puppy. This is a practical solution to covering healthcare costs for your puppy as it can cover the cost of any emergency trips. You should anticipate a few hundred dollars per year to have routine health checkups for your puppy, so insurance can be a good idea.
4. Bring supplies to your appointment
When taking your puppy to their appointment, you will need to come prepared! Depending on what your vet has asked for you to bring, you may need to bring a completed questionnaire and puppy records. Similarly, it's good to get a leash and a carrier dog crate.
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There will be many other animals at the vet's, and you don't want to let it run around. It might be hard too to hold a puppy if it's wiggling around, as it may become excited by the new sights and sounds at the vets.
Plus, you will want to bring your puppy's favorite toy and a treat. This way, it will distract it from any vaccinations or disturbances.
What should I expect during my puppy's first vet visit?
Once you're ready to go and at the vets, you can expect your puppy to receive the following:
- A weight check- To see if your puppy's age and breed fits in line with the guidelines
- Physical examination- recording body temperature, movement, and looking at its body parts such as its paws, coat, nails, ears, eyes, genitalia, and other areas
- Auscultation – The vet will listen to the sound of your puppies heart and lungs
- Dental check- The vet will look at your puppies mouth, gums, and teeth
Alongside this, your vet will give you advice on what to feed your puppy and how to look after it. For example, they will provide you with home grooming advice, dental advice, information on vaccinations, and what supplements to give it. Similarly, they will advise on how to fulfill its play and exercise needs and travel information.
When you get a puppy, you must take it to a vet within the first week of you getting it. You should take it to a vet you feel comfortable with, so either take personal recommendations or call around and visit clinics yourself.
Prices for a first vet visit can range from $75-$100 but can vary depending on the area of the world you live in. You might want to get health insurance to cover routine vet costs and emergency visits.
Make sure you come prepared to the vet with a list of questions you have, dog crate, chew toys, and treats to distract your puppy. Similarly, if you've got it from a local shelter, make sure you bring its papers with you.
Alex Wrigley is a professional writer and blogger who loves travel, technology and dogs. She is originally from the UK but currently lives in Nepal with her three dogs: two pugs and a golden retriever.